Psalm 121: 1-2
Did someone you know graduate this year? We celebrated with several graduates– including EPC’s Kate S-D. As I watched portions of their online graduations, I was impressed with the way the colleges and high schools tried to make the day special for each graduate. Even elementary and middle schools across our area held graduation parades, with teachers standing at a social distance along the side of the street and parents with the children in their cars driving past in long lines. As they passed one another they shouted words of thanks, congratulations, and encouragement. Each graduation was creative and heartwarming, but it also just wasn’t the same. And that small discomfort I felt is a reminder that we crave the in-person connections with each other that we are missing in this time.
Earlier today I watched a recorded video of the Rev. Otis Moss III preaching a sermon for an annual Festival of Homiletics. He preached standing in the aisle of his church, surrounded by empty pews. Standing in that empty sanctuary, he talked about the alone-ness of this pandemic. The pews beside him were once filled with worshipers (and he showed us photos of them), singing, rejoicing, and praying together. But now they are empty. And it is easy to be discouraged. “Don’t lose heart,” Rev. Moss proclaimed. Why? Because we are not alone. He then asked the camera operator to widen the view, and he showed us that he was not alone – his wife was there praying for him as he preached, seated just outside the frame of the original camera angle. The camera operator was also there. And then Rev. Moss wondered about each of us. We can feel alone, but God is there with us, sometimes just out of sight, just outside of the frame.
It’s in times like these, preaching to an empty room, that I appreciate the Apostle Paul’s reminder to the church in Colossae, “… since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (Colossians 4:1). Our ministry together at Edmonds Presbyterian Church looks far different than anything we could have imagined even six months ago. While you may not see them at work, your session, your deacons, your staff, your property volunteers are all at work doing the ministry of this congregation – seen or unseen. This month’s newsletter is one place for me to offer them my thanks for not losing heart, for praying for one another as we continue to be the church in these changing times.
Friends, do not lose heart. God is at work – seen and unseen. God is at work in those near us and those just outside our frame of view. God is with us and will continue to encourage us in this walk of faith.
with thanks your prayers,